Forced Labor Is Not Employment

By Bill Wright Arizona prisoners are required to “engage in hard labor.” This does not make them employees. In Castle v. Eurofresh, Inc., No. 11-17947 (9th Cir. September 24, 2013), the plaintiff was a state prisoner. A private company contracted with the state for the services of a convict labor force and the plaintiff in […]

USERRA Reinstatement Requires Consideration of Discretionary Promotions, Too

By Brooke Colaizzi When reinstating an employee returning from military service under USERRA, an employer is required to consider non-automatic, “discretionary” promotions that the employee might have applied for and received had he or she not been absent, at least according to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Rivera-Melendez v. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, LLC, No. 12-1023 […]

Wal-Mart Defeats Another Mini-Dukes Class Action

By Andy Volin A federal court in Florida has dismissed class action gender discrimination claims against Wal-Mart, ruling that the class action allegations are barred by the statute of limitations. After the Supreme Court’s 2011 ruling in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes that a nationwide class action could not be maintained because there was no […]

Free Parking

By Bill Wright Reminder: sometimes an easy solution is a reasonable accommodation. In a recent case, an employee suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee asked for free on-site parking at her workplace. Feist v. Louisiana, No. 12-31065 (5th Cir. September 16, 2013).  The public employer apparently denied the request; we don’t know why. On appeal, […]

FMLA Only Seems Easy

By Bill Wright This FMLA case gives the wrong impression. Cuellar v. Keppel Amfels, LLC, No. 12-40165 (5th Cir. September 9, 2013). In this case, the company “leased” workers from a staffing agency. When one worker went out on maternity leave, the company replaced her. (The staffing agency was the primary employer and provided the […]

No Leave Benefit Goes Unpunished

By Bill Wright A worker is injured – seriously injured – and goes out on long term leave. He files a workers compensation claim. The comp. claim stalls and, for 11 years, the employer pays insurance benefits for the worker with no end in sight. Finally, the employer notifies the worker that, if he is […]

Thoughts and Feelings

By Bill Wright A plaintiff recently asserted age and sex discrimination claims and attempted to support them with “direct evidence.” The proposed direct evidence, however, was the testimony of two other employees. One testified: “I really think that anyone that was older with more experience [the decision-maker] felt they were threatening to him, and I […]